I recently decided to challenge myself to do a five day detox in hopes to start the new year with a renewed sense of self both physically and mentally. Fortunately I work for an awesome company that also values health, and with the help of our nutritionist in Australia, I was guided through the process and offered alot of encouragement along the way. The result was amazing and I can’t believe how much it forced me to be aware of the things I put into my body.
In a nutshell, I had to cut out caffeine, alcohol, fast foods, salt, sugar, highly processed/refined foods (ie white bread, pasties, muffins) and preserved meats.
While I was documenting my journey on Twitter and Facebook, I received an overwhelming amount of questions from friends and even complete strangers on what program I was on and any tips I had. So naturally, I’m putting together this post to act as a helpful resource to help inspire you to kick some bad habits and re-evaluate the foods you put into your body.
Before I get into what you need to do to prep for the process, here are five things I discovered both about myself and about food during the whole process:
1. Detoxing isn’t a Fad
You may be thinking why the heck do I need to detox? My body does a good enough job removing toxins on a daily basis thank you very much. Yes, although our bodies do a fairly good job detoxing on a daily basis through our skin, kidneys, lungs and digestive track, we are still exposed to more chemicals and pollutants than ever before. Our diets have become highly processed and contain artificial flavours and additives that can become toxic to our bodies over time. A detox is a way of reconnecting with natural foods and ingredients our grandparents used to eat. It also reminded me how fantastic your body can feel when you put the right foods into it.
2. Water and Lemon for Life
If you can only make time for one ritual that will improve your health, let it be this: start the day out with a glass of warm water and some lemon slices. It’s so simple and the benefits are just too good to ignore. After doing some research, I discovered that drinking this helps boosts your immune system, balances pH levels, helps with weight loss, aids digestion and even tastes good!
3. Exercise is Key
Not only is exercise a great distraction from the whole process, but it really helps move things along (literally) in your body. I especially found yoga to be the most beneficial during the process since I was literally squeezing the toxins from my organs and giving my body the time and attention it deserved.
4. Garlic is my New Best Friend
I can’t tell you how many times Garlic saved my meals with it’s incredible flavour. Since I wasn’t allowed to cook with my usual sauces (which all contain salt or sugar), I resorted to using garlic to add flavour to most of my meals.
5. I am Stronger Than I Think
I think this realization really came to fruition when I walked into work one day only to see a holiday feast spread out in the lobby of our building with everything I couldn’t eat. I walked right by the mountains of muffins, croissants, and coffee and went straight to the kitchen to prep my breakfast for the day. I was actually way more excited to eat my meal which was a mix of egg, spinach, tomato and avocado. I was also tempted on a DAILY basis with everything I couldn’t consume (especially caffeine) but I had to keep reminding myself why I was doing this in the first place and that I was strong enough to get through merely five days without it.
Thinking about doing a Detox yourself? Here are some things you should know to prepare:
- Detox your house and workplace – that means removing any food that might tempt you during the process. Throw away or hide the junk food.
- If you’re a heavy drinker, smoker, or caffeine addict (tea, coffee, redbull etc.) or consume high amounts of sugar, it is recommended to gradually reduce your intake over the days leading up to the detox. Side effects may include headaches, lowered energy and irritability. Remember, these will only be short term and the benefits will far outweigh the side effects. Drink at least 2 litres of water over this time to help ease the symptoms.
- Establish a positive mind set. If you see this as an exciting way to improve your health, you will find the process more enjoyable and effective for you. Remind yourself this is a very short period of time to make some positive changes.
- Set some goals. Would you like to gain energy? Lose weight? Improve your health and establish long lasting nutrition habits? Be clear on your goals, write them down and review them if you hit a hurdle during the five days.
- If you have any specific health concerns (eg diabetic, anemic) are pregnant or breast feeding, check with your Health professional before making any dietary changes.
Links to Detox Information/programs Online:
Good luck and Happy Detoxing! Let me know how it goes if you decide to give it a try!